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Baby, be mine...

Do you ever stop to consider how significant it is that your spouse wanted to marry you?

Not just hang out on the weekends with you.  Not just see you on the big holidays.  Not just take you to the movies and out for burgers.  They wanted you more for than just kisses goodnight on your momma's front porch.  It wasn't a contest, it wasn't a bet.  They weren't desperate.  He could have given that ring to anyone else.  She could have said yes to any number of suitable bachelors.  But he asked her.  And she said yes to him.

We say we marry our best friends - or that you should - but then somehow we get caught up in the "he's a man" and "she's a woman" and we tend to lean back into our friendships.  And that's okay.  Community and history with people are definitely important and necessary and I'm not saying you spend every nanosecond with the person you share a last name, a bed, a home with.  But what if you really considered a) the significance of them choosing you (and of you them!) and b) really looking at them as your friend.  Not just as the man of the house, the woman you come home to.

I will be the first to step up and admit that often I confide things in my girlfriends that I don't share with Aaron.  Now, some of those things I'm sure he's happy I share with them and not him, but there are times when I get caught up in being the wife and being the mommy and his safe place that I forget he is mine.  He is my shelter, he's my defender, he's my provider.

He wanted me for more than just to fill a bored spot in his schedule.  He wanted me more than just someone to make a family with.  He wanted me for more than my body and for more than anything I had to offer (which, I'm not sure was all that much to be honest).  But he wanted me.  Me as a person.  Me as Laura.  Me with my unwritten novels and my secret dreams and my panic attacks and nervous driving habits and love of every church sanctuary and piano I can find.

It makes my heart crawl up into my throat.  And my heart beat fast.

It's not just about being known in marriage... but about the fact that you are wanted to be known.  He doesn't want my perfection, doesn't need some streamlined, Facebook-public version of me.  He wants me.  The girl he confessed that he loved not even six weeks into meeting her?  That girl had nothing to offer but a great big broken heart and credit card debt and a truck-load of insecurity.  And I didn't hide any of that from him.  But suddenly you're married and you're supposed to be all efficient and clean now.

No one should know me more than Aaron and God.  My girlfriends know me so well it's scary and that is the biggest blessing in my life.  To be known is so nuts and so freeing.  And even more, so much more, in marriage.  And when we hold back and when we stop feeling brave and start forming walls and stop needing that desperate, gut wrenching wide open honesty... we stop living with our whole heart.  And loving with our whole heart.  And offering our whole heart.

I didn't intend to become distracted.  But we've been married 4.5 years and we have two children under the age of three and I just got busy.  I got worn out.  I was a bride for nine months and then I was a mom-to-be for my first anniversary.  And then it was my first Mother's Day with my first baby and then he was one year old and ta-da!, then I was pregnant again.

It was just life creating life, but it's all consuming.  Mothering full-time takes a lot from you... not only from you physically, but emotionally and spiritually and you try to carve out corners to recharge and relax and you find you can't.  You're hardwired for 24/7 mothering.  I'm not complaining.  This is part of being a parent to little people.  I know it's a season.

But my marriage is not a season.  My marriage is forever with this guy named Aaron who made my heart race and my heart trust and my heart grow.  And he gave me faith when I didn't have any and he gave me the truest form of love that anyone has really offered me.  He said he'd give up everything - life as he knew it - and come live with me forever.  He gave me a diamond, he held tight to my hand and we vowed to stick like glue, to be one whole life, together.

As mothers we complain that we had to give up so much for our kids.  Our bodies.  Our me-time.  Our sanity.  Our freedom.  Our careers.  And we walk around with our proud burdens of how much we have to sacrifice for love.  But we don't typically reflect on the sacrifice our husbands made to start life over with us.  Maybe because we think they got such a good catch?  Or that their life was totally lame pre-us?  But the fact is he gave up stuff too.  Aaron gives up his rights to his own space, his own down time, his own interests and hobbies.  He sacrifices his wants for the must-haves of me and the boys.  He works for the money and I spend it and he doesn't complain.  He has to share his pizza, now.  His football and basketball watching gets interrupted a ridiculous amount.

We both started something new when he gave me that ring.  We both said we were going to let go of all we were before and embrace whatever comes next.  We were no longer independent and doing our own thing.  Now we were knotted together and dependent on one another for everything.  Not that we can't function without the other - but that we choose not to operate separately.  We choose to be a unit.  We choose to be real and vulnerable and dreamy with one another.

And sometimes in the midst of doing life all of that real and vulnerable and dreamy can fade.

We have always been dreamers together.  That's part of falling in love with someone.  You talk about the future, you dream big, you imagine the adventures, the stories, the family.  And then you get back from the honeymoon and you just settle into life and why does he fold towels like that and suddenly he's just a man and you're just a woman and you feel so destined to fail because you are no longer feeling like two peas in a pod, but instead two completely different species.  A vegetable at a fruit market.  But I don't need to read about what makes men tick.

I just need to love and learn Aaron.

I don't simply have a relationship with him - I do relationship with him.  And that means being real and messy and admitting when I'm wrong, or when I'm stupid, or when I'm hoping so hard for something.  It means him holding my hand when I just need to vent and understanding when I just can't do any more.  It means he's my sanctuary from all the mess and all the fear and all the striving.  He's where I can go to recharge, to refocus, to find my reflection.  I realize he's imperfect and messed up and it goes without saying that that's why we both have to have God most of all.  But God has given us our marriage for all of those things, too.  He didn't match us up just to have kids and someone to share a house with.  Our marriage was meant to mirror something deeper, something true - something we both desperately need.

And that's what makes me smile and tear up and my heart pound all at the same time.  Because as terrifying as it sometimes is to allow someone to see every nook and cranny of your messed up, freaked out, sloppy life... it is also the most beautiful, beautiful thing in the whole entire world.  To be known, really known, and... adored?  It's so hard to accept.  To understand.

And it's love.  It's always been true love... just exactly like that.

"For now we see in a mirror dimly,
but then face to face.
Now I know in part;
then I shall know fully, 
even as I have been fully known.
So now faith, hope, and love abide,
these three; 
but the greatest of these is love."
~ I Corinthians 13:12:13



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